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Strategic Management

All organisations have a strategy they follow and this course views you as the manager who needs to understand the key analytical tools and the fundamental strategies to help your firm compete effectively. We live in a connected globalised world where social, technological and political changes are impacting on all our lives and impact on a firm’s strategic thinking: we will look at what these are and how firms should or could respond strategically.

Strategy is also about interpreting what the analytical tools tell us, so we will help develop you - as future managers and leaders – with the skills that will be necessary so that firms can navigate the increasingly complex and uncertain world and still remain competitive.

The course is designed to intertwine theoretical and practical perspectives, enabling you to apply theory to real life scenarios.

It was an exciting three weeks at the Warwick Summer School, we made new friends and it has changed our lives towards a more mature and goal-oriented direction.

Gemy Hale Provido (Philippines)

Key Facts

Level: Intermediate

Fees: Please see fees page

Teaching: 60 hours

Expected independent study: 90 hours

Optional assessment: Dependant on course

Typical credit: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)*
* Please check with your home institution

For more information on exams and credit, please see our Teaching and assessment page



We welcome people from any discipline or background as strategy needs diversity of thoughts, views and backgrounds. It would be suitable for you if:

  • You are interested in strategy and want to get an overview from the ‘classical’ to new ideas in strategy designed to help solve of the ‘grand challenges’ of climate change, poverty etc. that the world is facing.
  • You want to develop your theoretical understanding of strategy and how it works in practice
  • You are looking to develop your skills through supported groupwork, case studies and other activities which will help you understand what you need to develop to become a strategist and effective manager.
  • In a changing world the sharing of different perspectives leads to high quality decisions and effective strategies.

    We provide a set of key theories and analytical tools to develop your strategic thinking skills. We start with understanding that strategy is not simply a game and understanding our own organisation and the context we find ourselves in is vital to strategizing.

    The course is structured in a way that starts with the big picture – the external environment – moves on to the competitive environment -the internal environment of the firm - and how value is created and captured by firms. However, strategy means nothing if we fail to implement it effectively, so, in week 2, we look at how decisions come be made, the barriers to implementation of strategy and how to overcome these. In the last week, we look at the key contemporary issues in strategy and the direction that strategic thinking is going.

    Week 1

      • What is strategy?
      • The external environment I: macro-environmental trends and how they impact businesses
      • The external environment II: Competitive Strategy: gaining a competitive advantage
      • The internal environment: Effective use of our resources and capabilities to implement strategy
      • Corporate Strategy: How headquarters add value in a multi-business setting

      Week 2

      • Workplace cultures and organisational identity
      • Strategic Decision making
      • Getting your idea heard I: Developing skills in assertiveness, persuasion and overcoming bias (in oneself and the bias in others)
      • Leadership and Strategy & Why diversity matters

      Week 3

      • Sustainability: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) & Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG)
      • Geopolitical trends and their impact on international strategy
      • Strategy in a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous)
      • Getting your idea heard II: Developing your negotiation skills
      • Presentations and course reflections

    Course Aims


    • Overall to understand the theoretical foundations of what strategy is and how strategizing occurs in organisations
    • To provide key theoretical perspectives and analytical tools to enable participants to analyse company strategy
    • To explore the key strategic choices that companies make and how to implement them effectively
    • To look at the way strategic decisions are made and how these interact with organisational culture
    • To explore how strategy emerges from the changing role of leadership and the rising importance of stakeholders
    • To understand the link between diversity and firm performance
    • To examine the concept of sustainability and how CSR and ESG aims to make companies accountable (and if this is working)
    • To understand the fundamental approaches to negotiation


    • Understand the skills and approaches needed to be assertive and persuasive at a one-to-one and group level
    • Understand organisational drivers and barriers in how to make diversity work
    • Using negotiation skills in the development of strategy

    Learning Outcomes

    By the end of the module you should be able to:

    • Overall, to apply theory to real-world situations and be able to assess your skill development.
    • Use analytical tools to assess the macro-environment and the trends that impact a specific firm
    • Apply the analytical tools of strategy to analyse company strategy
    • Assess the value of company resources and capabilities and how to overcome resource limitations
    • Understand how corporate headquarters adds value and supports its portfolio of companies
    • Recognise the way organisational culture impacts how strategy is implemented
    • How strategy decisions are made and your role in the process
    • How you can influence strategy, irrespective of your place in the organisation [or from even outside of an organisation]
    • Identify key global trends
    • Create your own personal development plan in strategy

    Course structure

    To move from the theory to its application in the real world - the practice of strategy – the course is structured most days as:

    • Two sets of 2hr lectures, which incorporate theory and uses activities e.g., paired discussion and groupwork, to explore how theory works in practice. These sessions will end with feedback/ debriefs on the activities.

    Participants will be provided with structured reading and given time each day for independent study.

    Course Assessment

    The module will be assessed via:

    • A group project in which each group will produce a presentation
    • A 1 hr exam using multiple choice questions

    Note: the exam is not compulsory. Everyone who completes the course – whether or not they sit the exam - will receive a certificate of attendance. However, by taking the exam you will also receive a grade/mark for the course which can be helpful to you.

    Essential Reading

    • The Strategy Pathfinder: Chapter 1, 3-5, 7 and P291-296 Porter, M. E. (1996). What is strategy? Harvard Business Review, 74(6).
    • Porter, M. E. (2008). The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy. Harvard Business Review, 86(1), 78-97.
    • Tajfel, H. and Turner, J.C., 2004. The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. In Political psychology (pp. 276-293). Psychology Press.
    • The phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty and embodiment in the world | Aeon Essays
    • Watkins, M.D., 2012. How managers become leaders. The seven seismic shifts of perspective and responsibility. Harvard business review, 90(6), pp.64-72.
    • Gherson, D. and Gratton, L., 2022. Managers can’t do it all–it’s time to reinvent their role for the new world of work. Harvard Business Review, 100(3-4), pp.96-105.

    Additional Reading

    • Stadler, C., 2007. Four principles of enduring success. Harvard business review. July-August
    • Mintzberg, H., & Waters, J. A. (1985). Of strategies, deliberate and emergent. Strategic Management Journal, 6(3), 257-272.
    • Groysberg, Boris; Halperin, Robert Russman. How to Get the Most out of Peer Support Groups Harvard Business Review. May/Jun2022, Vol. 100 Issue 3, p130-141
    • Strategic Analysis Tools ( Accessed Date: 13th June 2022
    • Größler, A., 2007. A dynamic view on strategic resources and capabilities applied to an example from the manufacturing strategy literature. Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 18(3), pp.250-266.
    • Hall, R., 1993. A framework linking intangible resources and capabiliites to sustainable competitive advantage. Strategic management journal, 14(8), pp.607-618.
    • Dowling, G., 2006. How good corporate reputations create corporate value. Corporate Reputation Review, 9(2), pp.134-143
    • 5 Steps to Stakeholder Engagement in Your Strategic Plan ( Accessed Date: 13th June 2022
    • Ashforth, B.E., Harrison, S.H. and Corley, K.G., 2008. Identification in organizations: An examination of four fundamental questions. Journal of management, 34(3), pp.325-374.
    • Cohn, A., Fehr, E. and Maréchal, M.A., 2014. Business culture and dishonesty in the banking industry. Nature, 516(7529), pp.86-89.
    • Rahwan, Z., Yoeli, E. and Fasolo, B., 2019. Heterogeneity in banker culture and its influence on dishonesty. Nature, 575(7782), pp.345-349.
    • Umphress, E.E., Bingham, J.B. and Mitchell, M.S., 2010. Unethical behavior in the name of the company: the moderating effect of organizational identification and positive reciprocity beliefs on unethical pro-organizational behavior. Journal of applied psychology, 95(4), p.769.
    • Walumbwa, F.O., Avolio, B.J. and Zhu, W., 2008. How transformational leadership weaves its influence on individual job performance: The role of identification and efficacy beliefs. Personnel psychology, 61(4), pp.793-825.
    • Andreoni, J. and Miller, J., 2002. Giving according to GARP: An experimental test of the consistency of preferences for altruism. Econometrica, 70(2), pp.737-753.
    • Jones, G., 2008. Are smarter groups more cooperative? Evidence from prisoner's dilemma experiments, 1959–2003. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 68(3-4), pp.489-497.
    • Sklansky, D., 1999. The theory of poker. Two plus two publishing LLC
    • Duffy, J. and Nagel, R., 1997. On the robustness of behaviour in experimental ‘beauty contest’games. The Economic Journal, 107(445), pp.1684-1700
    • Gill, D. and Prowse, V., 2016. Cognitive ability, character skills, and learning to play equilibrium: A level-k analysis. Journal of Political Economy, 124(6), pp.1619-1676.
    • Fehr, D. and Huck, S., 2016. Who knows it is a game? On strategic awareness and cognitive ability. Experimental Economics, 19, pp.713-726.
    • Bandiera, O., Barankay, I. and Rasul, I., 2005. Social preferences and the response to incentives: Evidence from personnel data. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120(3), pp.917-962.
    • Madrian, B.C. and Shea, D.F., 2001. The power of suggestion: Inertia in 401 (k) participation and savings behavior. The Quarterly journal of economics, 116(4), pp.1149-1187.
    • Gabbay, J. and le May, A., 2016. Mindlines: making sense of evidence in practice. British Journal of General Practice, 66(649), pp.402-403.
    • Simon, H.A., 1990. Bounded rationality. Utility and probability, pp.15-18.
    • Sadun, Raffaella; Fuller, Joseph; Hansen, Stephen; Neal, P J. The C-suite skills that matter most. Harvard Business Review. Jul/Aug2022, Vol. 100 Issue 4, p42-50.

    Entry Requirements

    There are no prerequisites for this course. This course is open to students studying any discipline at University level. We welcome individuals from all backgrounds, including students who are currently studying another subject but who want to broaden their knowledge in another discipline. Students should also meet our standard entry requirements and must be aged 18 or over by the time the Summer School commences and have a good understanding of the English language.

    Please note changes to the syllabus and teaching team may be made over the coming months before exact set of topics are finalised.

    Take a look at our other related courses:

    Communications and Marketing

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